Sunday, August 26, 2012

If I can, you can too!

42 Pints of Black Plum and San Marzano tomatoes
Last year I started canning with a bushel (about 50 pounds) of tomatoes and the help of a good friend. I was amazed by how easy it was to can, and how much better my canned tomatoes tasted compared to what I can get at the store.  I purchased heirloom varieties of tomatoes; black plum and san marzanos from Mott Family Farm.  The black plum tomatoes are incredibly flavorful, meaty, and great for sauces. Despite their ugly color, the black plums are my favorite canned tomatoes. The san marzanos are also a fleshy variety, prized in Italy for sauces, and a great canning tomato.

This year my friend and I canned about 70 pounds of tomatoes, since we loved them so much last year. For large batch canning like this I use recipes from Ball's Blue Book (see below).

Earlier this year I decided to try making jam.  To save a little bit of money my husband and I went to pick our own berries at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm.   Making jam was so easy!  All you do is add sugar to fruit and boil it.  If you want to use less sugar you can add pectin. The berry flavor of homemade jam is wonderfully intense. I used recipes from The Complete Book of Small Batch Canning (see below) since I only had 4 pints each of raspberries and blueberries.  That book has been great for small quantities of produce that I get in my CSA or at the farmers market.  Using that book I also made dill pickles from 3 pounds of pickling cucumbers from Dillner Family Farm, they turned out crisp and tasty.
Berries picked at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm

Raspberry and blueberry jam

Dill Pickles

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